Microbiomes—complex, diverse communities of microorganisms—are essential to human and environmental health. These communities are everywhere: in our bodies, our soil, and our oceans. And we are only beginning to understand how much different microbiomes have in common.

Human society depends on the beneficial effects of environmental microbiomes, which regenerate soil nutrients, purify drinking water, and stabilize our atmosphere, contributing to agricultural sustainability and climate-change adaptation. We are only beginning to discover the complex interrelationships between the body’s microbiome, health, and disease.

While human and environmental microbiomes have traditionally been studied separately, UC Irvine researchers have already begun to bridge the gap, opening up new possibilities for improving the health of the Earth and its inhabitants. We are building collaborations across disciplines, identifying similarities between human and environmental microbe communities, and training a new generation of interdisciplinary microbiome scientists.

Recently the UC Irvine Microbiome helped to form a new network of Microbiome Centers across the United States.  For more information, see the Microbiome Centers Consortium website at http://microbiomecenters.org/

Did You Know? 

  • Most microorganisms are not pathogens.
  • There are tens of thousands of bacterial species in a handful of soil.
  • Trillions of microbes live on and in our bodies.
  • Ocean microbes produce almost half of all oxygen produced in the atmosphere.